A PAGEANT queen who recently won Miss Brighton for a second year in a row has told of how she was given a five per cent chance to live as a baby.

Danielle Evans, who lives in Rottingdean, was born at just 26 weeks, weighed less than one pound and had chronic lung disease. Doctors told her parents her chances of survival were slim.

Despite having various health conditions, the 25-year-old says she does not let them hold her back. Some of her passions include boxing and rugby for Seaford Ladies Rugby Club.

She won the Miss Brighton title last year and defended it with another win on March 25.

The Argus: Danielle enjoys both rugby and boxingDanielle enjoys both rugby and boxing

Danielle spoke of her health issues and how she wants to encourage others with conditions to push themselves.

She told The Argus: “I was given a five per cent chance of survival. By the grace of God, I beat those odds which is great.

“While my health is reasonably good, I do suffer from long term health conditions with my lungs. I sometimes find it difficult to talk and walking on hot or really cold days, I really struggle.

The Argus: Danielle won Miss Brighton 2021 and 2022Danielle won Miss Brighton 2021 and 2022

“That is something I really love to do as well, help encourage people with disabilities or health issues, whether it’s asthma or whatever your condition is. I want people to try and go out and do things.

“That is something I’m hoping to do this year - give people the resources to go and try things. There isn’t a lot out there in terms inclusion for people, particularly in sport.

“From my perspective, I want to show people ‘look I may have lung issues and may not be the healthiest but it doesn’t mean I have stopped being active’. If you find the right club, right coach and right sport, you may not be the fittest or fastest in whatever you do but at least you give it a go.”

The Argus: Danielle is a keen rugby playerDanielle is a keen rugby player

Danielle gives talks around schools to encourage young people, especially girls, to go outside their comfort zone.

She started a movement called “Try Me” which started as a way to "break stereotypes around women’s rugby". Since then, she has given several talks at schools promoting body positivity.

Danielle said it is an “honour” to represent the city as Miss Brighton and she wants to continue her work encouraging people to try new activities as an "ambassador for the city".

The Argus: Danielle Evans at this year's awardsDanielle Evans at this year's awards

She said: “What I mainly wanted to do with my title of Miss Brighton is break down those stereotypes, not just for sport but for everything.

“I’m a plus-sized woman, I have curves. It doesn’t matter what your weight, height or religion, you can do anything whether it be sport or pageants. You shouldn’t be defined by labels.

“That is Brighton’s entire ethos, it’s all about acceptance. I couldn’t think of a better place to represent that is so unique and so welcoming. It’s an honour to represent this city.”

Danielle will be heading to the Miss Great Britain finals in October.